I remember being instructed
to count to a hundred
to pass the time in that roadside
restaurant—the one whose
hostess would give the good kids
free balloons—waiting after Sunday mass
for those much more appealingly
flattened discs of bread.
I still do this sort of thing.
Even though it's no longer a challenge,
it does the trick—makes me think
of childhood as the perfect
pang of hunger, the one finite thing
buried deep in the infinite dirt of me
that can still retain logic's
and the only thing which,
having already come this far, I can
neither bring myself to abandon
nor ever quite seem to find—before time's up.